Scientific Advisory Board Members

Pioneers in Stem Cell Discovery

Irving Weissman, MD, Fred Gage, PhD, and David Anderson, PhD, were responsible for the discovery of the mammalian blood, brain and peripheral nervous system stem cells, respectively. They continue to make significant contributions to the Company’s research as members of its Scientific Advisory Board.

Irving L. Weissman, MD


Irving L. Weissman is Professor of Pathology and Developmental Biology at Stanford University, Director of the Stanford Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine and Director of the Stanford Ludwig Center for Cancer Stem Cell Research. Among his many scientific achievements, Dr. Weissman’s laboratory was the first to discover the mammalian stem cell and the hematopoietic (blood-forming) stem cell. Dr. Weissman was also responsible for the formation of three stem cell companies: SyStemix, Inc., StemCells, Inc., and Cellerant, Inc. He is a member of the Board of Directors and the Scientific Advisory Board of StemCells. Professor Weissman received his BS from Montana State College in 1961 and an MD from Stanford University in 1965. During medical school he conducted research on thymus cell migration for nine months with Sir James Gowans at Oxford University, England. He was a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. H. S. Kaplan’s laboratory at Stanford University from 1965-1967, and was appointed as a Research Associate in the Department of Radiology upon completion of the fellowship. He was appointed Assistant Professor of Pathology, Stanford School of Medicine in 1969, Associate Professor in 1974, and Professor in 1981. He was an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute from 1990-1992. He was the Karel Beekhuis Professor of Cancer Biology from 1987 until 2005 and the Chair of the Immunology Program, a degree-granting program from 1986-2001. In 2002 he became Director of the Stanford Cancer/Stem Cell Institute, which was split into the Stanford Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, and the Stanford Cancer Center in 2003; Weissman was Director of both, and was principal investigator on the successful NCI Cancer Center grant. He stepped down as Cancer Center Director in 2008, but remains director of the Stem Cell Institute. In May 2005, he was named the Virginia and D. K. Ludwig Professor for Clinical Investigation in Cancer Research. Professor Weissman is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences (1989-present), the Institute of Medicine at the National Academy (2002-present), the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1990-present), The American Association for the Advancement of Science (1990), the American Academy of Microbiology (1997-present), and the American Philosophical Society (2008-Present), and also served as President of the International Society of Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) from 2009 to 2010. Professor Weissman has received numerous awards for his many achievements throughout his career.

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Fred H. Gage, PhD


Fred H. Gage is the head of the Laboratory of Genetics at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, and Vi and John Adler Chair for Research on Age-Related Neurodegenerative Diseases and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Neurosciences, at the University of California, San Diego in La Jolla, California. Dr. Gage's lab was the first to discover the mammalian central nervous system stem cell. His work concentrates on the adult central nervous system and unexpected plasticity and adaptability to environmental stimulation that remains throughout the life of all mammals. In addition, his studies focus on the cellular, molecular and environmental influences that regulate neurogenesis in the adult. Dr. Gage has won numerous prizes and awards for his work including the IPSEN Prize for Neuroplasticity, the Charles A. Dana Award, Metropolitan Life Research Award and the Keio Medical Science Prize. He serves on many health related boards, was President of the Society for Neuroscience and is President-Elect of the International Society for Stem Cell Research. Dr. Gage is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Institute of Medicine, a Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the American Philosophical Society and an Associate Member of the European Molecular Biology Organization.

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David J. Anderson, PhD


David J. Anderson is Seymour Benzer Professor of Biology at the California Institute of Technology and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. His laboratory was the first to isolate a multipotent, self-renewing stem cell for the peripheral nervous system, the first to identify instructive signals that promote the differentiation of these stem cells along various lineages and the first to accomplish a direct purification of peripheral neural stem cells from uncultured tissue. Dr. Anderson received an AB at Harvard and a PhD at Rockefeller University, where he trained with Nobelist G√ľnter Blobel. Dr. Anderson performed postdoctoral studies at Columbia University with Nobelist Richard Axel. Awards: Helen Hay Whitney Foundation Fellow, 1983-86; NSF Presidential Young Investigator Award 1986-87; Searle Scholars Award, 1987-88; Alfred P. Sloan research Fellowship in Neuroscience, Javits Investigator in Neuroscience (NIH), 1989-96; Charles Judson Herrick Award in Comparative Neurology, 1990; Ferguson Award for Graduate Teaching, 1994; Ferguson Award for Biology Education, 1996; Ferguson Award for Graduate Teaching, 1998; Alden Spencer Award in Neurobiology, Columbia University, 1999; Elected Associate, The Neurosciences Institute, 2001; American Academy of Arts and Sciences Fellow, 2002; American Association for the Advancement of Science Fellow, 2002; Named Roger W. Sperry Professor of Biology, Caltech, 2004; Alexander von Humboldt Award, 2005; Elected to the National Academies of Sciences, 2007; Named Seymour Benzer Professor of Biology, Caltech, 2009.

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